Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and John McCain (R-AZ) introduced the Debt Buy-Down Act of 2011, which would require the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to include a check-off on tax forms providing taxpayers the flexibility to voluntarily designate that up to 10 percent of their tax liability be put toward debt reduction – this bill does not ask taxpayers to sign away any part of their potential federal refund. Senator McCain has introduced the Debt Buy-Down Act in previous Congresses and a companion bill has been introduced in the House as well.
“At a time when too many of our congressional leaders are unwilling to deal with the debt crisis, and our President is absent from the debate, this will give individual Americans the chance to deal with it themselves. This is the type of innovative solution we need in Washington to empower taxpayers when too many politicians would rather focus on the next election than a $14 trillion debt spiraling out of control,” said Senator Rubio.
Under the Debt Buy-Down Act of 2011, Congress would have an opportunity to pass spending reductions equal to the amount of debt reduction designated by taxpayers. If they fail to do so, the spending reductions are gained via an across-the-board cut in program spending levels – with exceptions for Social Security benefits, benefits for the uniformed services, and payments for net interest.
In order to ensure that those taxpayer-generated reductions in the debt are protected, the bill also requires an equal amount of permanent reductions in federal spending. And it establishes a trust fund in which to put those funds pending their use to retire debt obligations.
In 2010, as part of his 12 simple ways to cut spending in Washington, Senator Rubio said he would support proposals to put a check-off box on the federal tax form allowing taxpayers to designate up 10 percent of their existing tax bill to go toward paying down the national debt.